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Monday, February 18, 2019

The Poisoned Well of Pirate Capitalism--Intimate Daily Civic Lessons


The reputation of Donald Trump is all that need be looked at to see the public consequences of a nation enthralled by pirate capitalism. Trump considers himself a god that can manufacture truth to fit his current passions.  Consider his business reputation of shady dealings, stiffing contractors and bankers, and his fondness for exercising power in firing employees on a whim.

Further, as a god he demands total worship—or as he likes to call it “loyalty” (standing always at the ready to lie, cheat, or steal as his ego demands—or to swallow one of his rotten falsehoods with a face showing utter pleasure).  And remember, a hefty third of Americans are only too glad to have a pirate capitalist in charge. Perhaps workplace government has provided them many daily, dutiful civic lessons.

The poisoned well of pirate capitalism demands from employees no less than spiritual prostitution. In a practical sense, many Americans experience monarchical, even despotic, government rule at the very source of their daily livelihood.   The free choice doctrine says all options are open for employees.  If they don’t like one job, they can always get another.   But we know realistically many things can prevent job hopping—not the least of which is that employees out of necessity often incur long-term debt with frequent and recurring payment importunities.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Vanity Side of Capitalism and Other Addictions


I have raised two painful aspects of our nation that deserve priority status and at which we must stop winking.  The deleterious effects of alcohol are known firsthand by everyone.  We seem to have cycles of trendy concern over this or that drug abuse.  But as an emergency room doctor at Saint Anthony’s Hospital told me the other day, the sexy drug problem of the day does not begin to reach in breadth and depth the pain resulting from alcohol use.  The doctor said: Just ask those who must deal with it such as first responders and waitresses.  (As a matter of fact, a few months ago a waitress at Steak ‘N Shake shared a concern over this matter with me. I had in no way suggested or invited the subject of alcohol.)   The now available technology for imaging the brain and tracking the profoundly destructive effects of alcohol upon brain tissue recall to mind our great ability to discount scientific evidence regarding climate change.  Surely the “free choice” doctrine is going to destroy us unless we learn with humility to face facts.

The other hurt I address and refuse to wink at is our misconstruing the essential nuclear reactor of capitalism for generating creative productivity…… and instead devise a fantastic romantic capitalism of pirate adventure intent on movie mayhem (conveniently, without inflicting real personal pain).   It is undeniable that competition and diversity are huge contributors to sustained abundance.  However, at no time should focus on capital lead us to toss human rights into a shredder.  In fact, from a non-mercantile perspective, humanity is itself a capital asset and is in no sense readily disposable. As we honor capital and employers, we EQUALLY  must honor employees.  I foresee a growing branch of civil law that builds understandings and precedents regarding employer-employee relations.  Employees ineluctably constitute a major part of Capitalism.  It is employee creativity and labor that make any organization marketable over time.  Thus, even small business employees must have access to justice only possible by third party review.  Again, this is not a “sexy issue of the day.”  There is not one of us who has not heard of a loyal and productive employee being royally screwed by a self-centered executive for entirely self-serving ends.


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Saturday, February 2, 2019

What “Drink Responsibly” Really Means

It’s the alcohol industry (and our government with bloody hands) saying no matter what the tragedy ….It’s ALL YOUR FAULT.. …you dumb ass sucker!!!!!!!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Maturity: We Must Learn to Love What Human Nature Requires

In my preceding blog I refused to wink at the hugely unbalanced manner in which our government honors employers versus employees in the private sector.  Government employees, on the other hand—like for the City of Saint Petersburg (where I worked for 33 years)--are protected by established procedures in the Human Resource Department.  These rules and regulations allow employees to appeal to the HR Department should they believe they have been treated unjustly in serious matters.  Cases are routinely handled there.  But firstly these HR polices provide a cocoon of protection in the manner that criminal and civil law provide protection by restraining unleashed arbitrary impulses but as applied here precipitous behavior on the part of supervisory personnel.  It provides a discerning pause for management to re-evaluate, further analyze, and explore the nature of the problem.  Most importunately it accommodates human nature by protecting against our tendency towards negative reflexive judgment of others (much as governmental branch limitations provide structural dampening effects). 

In many ways the most powerful and arbitrary government in our everyday lives can be the naked force of an employer given free reign to play a revengeful and spiteful god. A total lack of a fair grievance procedure can encourage the good and honest employer to court the darker side. It is imperative that employees in the private sector have a fair and respectful way to gain an objective review of what they take to be major injustices.  This is not so much a pocket book issue as a human rights issue requiring a frank recognition of the Fundamental Attribution Error.       

Please refer to this link for my personal challenges with the Fundamental Attribution Error:

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

I Stand in Defiance

Today is my 75th birthday (b. January 27, 1944).  I stand in defiance of those who would usher in an ugly and cruel America.  We are all dreamers, but where will our diverse dreams lead us?  That is the question.  Public policy must be selective. I want to see America less an ideologue focused on glittering generalities and more on idea aftermath. We must have the integrity to view the collateral damage public policy can chisel upon the human face. We’ve had that courage in the past; let’s not flag in our efforts today.  In my view capitalism will self-destruct unless our creative and loving nation finds a way to honor employees as much as employers. This is far more than a minimum wage issue. The day of self-appointed gods in the private sector is nearing its end.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Deliverance to--rather than from--Payback Time

(Quotation below from preceding blog:)

I told her [Walmart Employee who had shown great kindness to me] she had taught me a very important lesson tonight.  Often we think of kindness bearing fruit with reciprocal kindness.  The lesson I learned tonight, I told her, is that kindness can elicit from the goodwill spawned in the heart a practical and operative measure of honesty and integrity.  (What if my initial employee encounter had been characterized by insensitivity satiated with manipulation and cruelty;  would I have turned around like honest Abe to ensure an honest charge… or would I have l left the building feeling fully justified in my fortuitous heist [that being an item employee had failed to scan on my checkout]--regretting only that the watchband was not made of solid gold?)

Quite rightly Donald Trump understands that he must ALWAYS be perceived by his supporters as the master of arbitrary power--never even once in his lifetime having the need to ask for forgiveness.  In my preceding blog I pictured what it could look like if I left Walmart feeling greatly aggrieved. This was a situation in which I could take immediate direct personal action to satisfy my sense of hurt and injustice.

I can, however, have a truckload of grievances of a social/economic nature in which my direct action is impossible.  I then can look for a strong man to effectuate revenge (in my view justice) for me.  I decidedly do not want a fair, carefully measured, and morally fussy man for this job.  I want someone fully capable of playing dirty—the more so the better to angrily reflect just how I subjectively feel. 

(We should be aware that envy and jealousy are a form of hurt.  Government workers can be envied by vulnerable private sector workers for the government employees' enjoying (in many cases) greater job stability, steady income flow during market fluctuations, rules and regs resulting in greater protection from arbitrary bosses, and more generous benefits.  Thus, a temporary government shutdown can be taken as a let-them-see-what-I-face infliction of retributive justice.  An emphasis on societal division is necessary to communicate all the better to the strongman's supporters shared targeted enemies.) 

The domineering autocratic strong man to his followers is perceived to be a messiah figure of justice—but perversely sadistic in nature implementing a scorched-earth policy that could undermine the persistence of government itself. This contrasts with democratic servant leaders who seek to inspire a common empathy and unified feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood in which both burdens and benefits are broadly accepted and shared.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Restorative Moment Following My Recent Genius Encounter (Preceding Blog)

Sometimes the schemes of geniuses can require recovery time and meditative, restorative repasts.  This occurred for me last evening at Walmart.  The roving helpmate Walmart provides in the self-checkout area graciously offered to help this old man with his checkout.  She was genuinely kind and helpful and a great feeling of humility overcame me.

On my way out, however, I noticed she had overlooked a small watchband that had hidden itself in one corner of the cart basket.  With a tremendous feeling of goodwill towards the store due to their thoughtful employee, I immediately turned around and waited for her to have a free moment. I mentioned the unscanned watchband; she thanked me and turned to scan the item and process my credit card.

I told her she had taught me a very important lesson tonight.  Often we think of kindness bearing fruit with reciprocal kindness.  The lesson I learned tonight, I told her, is that kindness can elicit from the goodwill spawned in the heart a practical and operative measure of honesty and integrity.  (What if my initial employee encounter had been characterized by insensitivity satiated with manipulation and cruelty;  would I have turned around like honest Abe to ensure an honest charge… or would I have l left the building feeling fully justified in my fortuitous heist--regretting only that the watchband was not made of solid gold?)

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